Maine: A Case of Sour Sugar

Until only recently, Maine's Democrats readily acknowledged their friendship with Fred Vahlsing Jr. Though he considered himself a Republican, the rough-edged chief of a New Jersey-based food-products operation regularly purchased tables at Democratic fund-raising affairs, entertained politicians at his hotel suite and occasionally flew them around in one of his Aero Commanders. Equally important, Freddie sought to boost the state's shaky economy by opening Maine's first sugar refinery, enabling farmers to take advantage of a much-prized 33,000-acre federal sugar-beet quota.

Now Democrats—and particularly Senator Edmund Muskie—find Freddie a liability. Maine's sugar-beet business is verging on collapse. Vahlsing's Maine Sugar Industries...

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